Polygon: CDPR responds to sexualized trans advertisement in CyberPunk 2077 (Read Staff Post Before Posting)

Audioboxer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,347
Uh, how has it been sanitized of sexuality? Did you miss the gameplay demo? And while not shown to the public, the demo the showed the press at gamescom showed the male character having a one night stand with another man.
Ah yeah I forgot the 48-minute demo wasn't censored, but they definitely censored the E3 stuff

Early in the demo, the presenter revealed a mockup of the character creation system. It showed generic male and female avatars standing on a blue background. Both of them were completely nude, but their genitals were covered with pixelated white boxes of digital noise. Some in the crowd giggled. For some of them, I’m sure it was because they were uncomfortable with or perhaps prudish about nudity. Just as many likely giggled at the absurdity of censoring the human form in a video game.

Adding those white boxes to the menu system at E3 was a tactical decision by the team at CD Projekt Red, game director Adam Badowski told Polygon. In the final version of the game, that digital noise will likely be removed. But for its big reveal, CD Projekt didn’t want to be accused of using nudity for shock value, or to have its time with the international press sidetracked by conversations about male or female nudity in video games.

The team also wanted to keep the reaction in the room to a giggle, rather than outright laughter.

“We covered these parts for one reason,” said Badowski. “Because during the presentation, we don’t want people to focus on and think about these things and laugh. It’s normal! Nudity makes it more believable; that’s why we want to have it. There’s nothing special in it.”
 

Yasuke

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Oct 25, 2017
10,722
User Warned: Hostility
Maybe wait until you've played the game and understand the context before critiquing how it deals with complex issues?
I mean, I'm not here to defend CDPR or Cyberpunk, I don't even care that much about the game - But one RPS article doesn't really tell us anything about how the game treats race in the city. When we jump to judgement we're not furthering any cause, we're just muddying up the discourse and being counter-productive to games actually tackling complex issues. Cyberpunk might very well turn out to be offensive or insensitive, but let's at least know that it is before getting up in arms?
Fuck out my face, nigga.

I asked a question about them treating people of color and their vernacular as stereotypical. Which isn’t off base given what we saw of V’s friend in the trailer last year (I forget his name). His dialogue was cringeworthy and seemed to indicate they didn’t have a ton of diversity in the room when they wrote it.

I know one article doesn’t tell us anything, hence me saying I needed an explanation from them. There’s nothing “up in arms” about my post. Take your weird ass defense elsewhere.
 

null

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,190
This just reads so hollow when everything shown of Cyberpunk 2077 so far has been so completely sanitized of sexuality and LGBT representation. Nothing shown so far makes it seem like brazen depictions of objectified sexuality aren't still considered taboo in Night City, which makes the advertisement just popping up on a wall seem more like an attempt to be absurd and mocking.
I don't think that's true. Just quickly scrubbing through the gameplay footage you can see a lot of ads and clubs

 
Nov 30, 2017
1,876
Interesting so to show how absurdly sexualized ads are they use an overly sexualized minority group to get the point across. Because this group is seen as a vile and disgusting group of people by most men in the world and what better way to depict it then to use this group of people.

Because it’s hard to show a vile and disgusting depiction of an ad by using overly sexualised women to get the point across. Since most men would just find it socially acceptable and ok because it’s a beautiful woman.

The irony in this is fucked up.
 

Gakidou

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,187
pip pip cheerio fish & chips
So they defended the issue of why there's a sexualised trans or NB model in the gameworld, the bit that didn't bother me so much...

But did i miss the bit where they addressed how the text of the pinup ("chroManticore") seemingly alludes to the the "secret masculinity" of trans women and the fetishisation of "best of both worlds" type associations with trans women?? Cause that's the bit I thought was the bigger issue.
Anyway I hope their definitely woke sexualisation of all genders fairly will include some gigantic visible erections on male coded bodies and some masculine models with vaginas.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,967
You're still allowed to be mad and everyone else is still allowed to wait and see. The problem is when people shit up every thread related to a game based on old drama that is tangentially related.
I think it's a stretch to insist previous instances of hostile PR statements toward trans people (that went unaddressed) are tangential to a trans representation discussion like this.
 

jelly

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,915
I think it's a well reasoned response. It's just a tough sell in the world we live in today with representation, struggles that comes with that, we kinda have to step back a little and not see everything as a win or a loss or pushing reality one way. Still, remains to be seen what the game is like as a whole, you can have things like this but there needs to be other viewpoints, stories that don't conform to that corporate reality push.
 

Stabbie

Member
May 8, 2019
182
I really hope that Cyberpunk will get back to the Witcher 1's roots in terms of uncomfortable threads when it comes down to social commentary. To this day, this game is easily unparalleled in its depiction of minorities going to the extremes to feel heard aswell as pure racism and whatnot, while also hard judging the main character for embracing too closely the apolitical nature of his status

Fully hoping that Cyberpunk will gun for feelings of disgust regarding the actions you'll make / not make. I was also very happy to know that its fully possible to do an entire non lethal run. Will make for some multiple level of readings depending of the choices people will make
 

bluexy

Freelance Games Journalist
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
835
Folk are really splitting hairs on this blankly being okay because it's intended to be offensive, when there's a difference between something being offensive because it reinforces and encourages prejudices vs. providing commentary and perspective to help dismantle said prejudices. It's worth digging into the nuance that divides the two.
 
I think it's a stretch to insist previous instances of hostile PR statements toward trans people (that went unaddressed) are tangential to a trans representation discussion like this.
And I think it's a stretch to say a pr person running a twitter account for a different company than CDPR posting transphobic tweets and getting fired over it has any influence on the CDPR's artist's vision.
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
14,140
That's a good response that makes me feel better about the game.


However, I can't help but have the feeling that this isn't the worst we are about to see. I hope I am wrong but I just can't shake the feeling. Especially after the stereotypical minority representation we saw earlier.

Prove me wrong CD Project Red, because I want to believe in you.
 

TheModestGun

Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,084
I understand the intent, and the idea that they are going for, but to me it just seems like the execution is maybe a bit off. It seems like it’s played for jokes.


But for now I guess I’ll reserve judgement until I see the game as a whole and how it’s handled in the broader context.

Sometimes it’s hard to portray sensitive ideas in snippets.

I just hope the person interviewed is being earnest and this isn’t just someone’s posthoc justification for some artists cheap laughs.
 

jkm23

Member
Nov 10, 2017
8,223
Fuck out my face, nigga.

I asked a question about them treating people of color and their vernacular as stereotypical. Which isn’t off base given what we saw of V’s friend in the trailer last year (I forget his name). His dialogue was cringeworthy and seemed to indicate they didn’t have a ton of diversity in the room when they wrote it.

I know one article doesn’t tell us anything, hence me saying I needed an explanation from them. There’s nothing “up in arms” about my post. Take your weird ass defense elsewhere.
Agree all the way.

We need explanations on the stuff in the RockPaperShotgun preview. I'd prefer to have them like soonish as well since this advert-issue was covered so quickly.
 

DoubleTake

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,647
Folk are really splitting hairs on this blankly being okay because it's intended to be offensive, when there's a difference between something being offensive because it reinforces and encourages prejudices vs. providing commentary and perspective to help dismantle said prejudices. It's worth digging into the nuance that divides the two.
This. Now we wait to see if the game actually makes any sort of commentary on this.
 

XandBosch

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,382
Folk are really splitting hairs on this blankly being okay because it's intended to be offensive, when there's a difference between something being offensive because it reinforces and encourages prejudices vs. providing commentary and perspective to help dismantle said prejudices. It's worth digging into the nuance that divides the two.
So what would be your version of the same ad that does what you're proposing?

I'm not trying to be all "debate me" at all, I'm genuinely curious how they could do this in a way that would satisfy all parties.
 

sonicmj1

Member
Oct 25, 2017
51
I was about to post this in the old thread when it got locked.

In a situation like this, where there are multiple potential valid reads on the poster and how it's being used, I don't know how much we can gain by extrapolating from it without the context of the rest of the game behind it. It's a tiny part of a much larger whole. How it reads will depend on the entire world surrounding it.

I appreciate how this discussion has highlighted how trans bodies can be fetishized in a way that harms the community, which I hope has opened some people's eyes. The rest seems to be filling in gaps based on assumptions about the rest of the game's world informed by CDPR's social media controversies.

For me personally (and as someone with a much lower stake in this conversation), I don't believe the actions of their social media people have a particularly strong relationship to the actions of the writers and art directors responsible for this material. But I have no way of knowing, and if people feel differently, that's their right.

Ultimately, no game is owed your preorder. If you're skeptical, then it's easy to sit back and wait until the work comes out. It will speak for itself. I'm sure plenty of people are going to play it who care about LGBT issues, and if it has problems, they'll write about it and let the world know. We'll see in the end. But it's tough to judge a tiny slice (in this case, a single art asset) in a vacuum.

RSC handles body modifications and sexuality in a vastly more nuanced way than this particular instance. There is an issue with a character's deadname being present, but in my experience it's handled very realistically.
For instance, Red Strings Club faced some controversy when Waypoint reacted to the deadnaming without fully considering how it fit in with the larger context of the game, or with the experience of its three developers, one of whom was trans and was very involved in the decision to include it. That led to a wider conversation on the game and this choice, which I'm glad they attempted. Similarly, I'm also reminded of people's reactions to the reveal of Far Cry 4's cover art, assuming that Pagan Min was white or gay based on his appearance and on Far Cry 3's past issues. When the game came out, it was clear that these concerns did not reflect anything in the final game.

When the final game comes out and we can see it in its entirety, we'll be able to have a much more informed and interesting discussion about its treatment of marginalized communities.
 

Bunga

Member
Oct 29, 2017
533
Okay cool, maybe some folks on this forum will simmer down now. Seems a perfectly reasonable explanation to me and in line with what I thought would be the case in the other thread.
 

Stabbie

Member
May 8, 2019
182
Folk are really splitting hairs on this blankly being okay because it's intended to be offensive, when there's a difference between something being offensive because it reinforces and encourages prejudices vs. providing commentary and perspective to help dismantle said prejudices. It's worth digging into the nuance that divides the two.
if anything you're too quick to judge based on snippets of infos. Its quite clear that the goal of the game is to take down mega corporations and give consciousness back to the human race, now being augmented, living in society as a whole. Its what the base material always has been about
 

Yasuke

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,722
Folk are really splitting hairs on this blankly being okay because it's intended to be offensive, when there's a difference between something being offensive because it reinforces and encourages prejudices vs. providing commentary and perspective to help dismantle said prejudices. It's worth digging into the nuance that divides the two.
This sounds like a case of the latter, at least the way she describes it here.
 

Andrew-Ryan

Member
Dec 4, 2018
522
You're kinda splitting hairs here. "The content" in my post refers to the ad in the game, not the woman's body.
Sorry, I guess I misunderstood you. Because it seemed like everyone that said the advert was OK said so because they knew the actual model was not intended to be offensive and sort of understood it's underlying use as social commentary on adverts in general (a major theme of nearly every cyberpunk piece of fiction) rather than trans-issues. But it was the people that were offended (which was fair enough, I can see why they might be given CDPR history) by it that didn't really buy that and thought CDPR were basically mocking trans-people.
 

ClassicLevi

Member
Jan 4, 2018
1,241
This was pretty much my takeaway from the advert when I first saw it.

"Gender non-conforming is now a social norm, but unfortunately so is commercial hyper-sexualization."

Or, " in the corporate ran future, equal representation means equal exploitation."
 

JaxiPup

Member
Dec 23, 2017
244
Massachusetts
It's important to remind people that the year this issue is coming to light, 2019, has been an incredibly tumultuous time for trans folk.

Numerous rights reductions, political turbulence, and violence against trans people.

Portraying a vulnerable minority group in this way is damaging regardless of the context.

In a time where trans people are being murdered for being trans, fetishization to this degree shouldn't be handwaved.
 

kitchenmotors

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,681
Illinois
Interesting so to show how absurdly sexualized ads are they use an overly sexualized minority group to get the point across. Because this group is seen as a vile and disgusting group of people by most men in the world and what better way to depict it then to use this group of people.

Because it’s hard to show a vile and disgusting depiction of an ad by using overly sexualised women to get the point across. Since most men would just find it socially acceptable and ok because it’s a beautiful woman.

The irony in this is fucked up.
It is pretty fucked up but people are taking this response at face value. This response does nothing to ease my concerns, it just shows they’re extremely ignorant with the subject.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,967
This was pretty much my takeaway from the advert when I first saw it.

"Gender non-conforming is now a social norm, but unfortunately so is commercial hyper-sexualization."

Or, " in the corporate ran future, equal representation means equal exploitation."
God, I hope this is what comes across in the tone of the final game. My fear is that it won't actually make that statement clearly enough to do more than come across as critical of trans people, because they're taken as an emblem of social and moral decay in the dystopia.
 
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Joey Ravn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,493
I still don't buy it. If this is enough for some people to justify buying the game so be it. But not for me.

And even if it were, one correction doesn't magically erase all the unapologetically hateful stuff GOG and CDPR have spouted. Sorry, but I'm not giving this company a cent anymore.
 

Alucrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,583
also if this is the norm for the cyberpunk 2077 universe it should be no problem to allow the player character to also adhere to said norms, right?
 

Yata

User-Requested Ban
Banned
Feb 1, 2019
391
Spain
If I take CDPR's comments on face value (and I see no reason not to), this image needed to be presented with context so as not to alienate and hurt people. It wasn't. And that certainly isn't on the people alienated or hurt.
This game takes place in a cyberpunk dystopia. The trailers and demos have already featured various sexualized posters. In the other thread most people defending this issue already guessed the statement provided was the artist's intent. How much more context we needed for a background poster in an alleyway found within gameplay in these game previews?
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,343
Atlanta GA
God, I hope this comes across in the tone of the final game.
If it does then I'm happy to consider my initial suspicions wrong, and praise CDPR for putting themselves on a better path. As of right now, their history speaks to me more than just her response in the context of this controversy.

however, this is not the only seemingly insensitive thing about this game. they have a lot of work to do to convince me.
 

Parenegade

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,783
This just reads so hollow when everything shown of Cyberpunk 2077 so far has been so completely sanitized of sexuality and LGBT representation. Nothing shown so far makes it seem like brazen depictions of objectified sexuality aren't still considered taboo in Night City, which makes the advertisement just popping up on a wall seem more like an attempt to be absurd and mocking. Especially when the advertisement's design is designed similarly to bigoted jokes about trans people - "Oh, a sexy woman! Ah, surprise, there's a penis. Mix it up! Don't take it personally, It's a joke." which just comes across as bigotry in the guise of edgy social commentary.
Sanitized of sexuality? What about in the gameplay demo when your character wakes up after casually fucking some random dude?
 

bluexy

Freelance Games Journalist
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
835
if anything you're too quick to judge based on snippets of infos. Its quite clear that the goal of the game is to take down mega corporations and give consciousness back to the human race, now being augmented, living in society as a whole. Its what the base material always has been about
How "The Game Is" doesn't really make a difference with regards to how "The Game Is Being Sold."
 

Siggy-P

Avenger
Mar 18, 2018
4,500
This is the sort of commentary that requires extra.

On the surface level it's probably gonna just simply shock and repulse more of the target audience than its gonna get to think about the social commentary.

They need to have a positive protrayel of a trans character to bring attention to the intended commentary she's describing.

I feel otherwise the commentary is gonna be buried under surface level impressions and twitch influencers feignging disgust and trap memes over it.
 

LordQuas

Member
Oct 27, 2017
41
The setting is a dystopian future where corporate power exceeds the power of the state. I don't think it's necessarily fair to say that CDPR's stance on representation is communicated by the presentation by that ad. The exploitation of people by sociopathic mega-corporations is what cyberpunk is all about. The punk part is railing against that machine.
 

Froyo Love

Member
Oct 28, 2017
784
Folk are really splitting hairs on this blankly being okay because it's intended to be offensive, when there's a difference between something being offensive because it reinforces and encourages prejudices vs. providing commentary and perspective to help dismantle said prejudices. It's worth digging into the nuance that divides the two.
Nailed it.

I think the explanation is crap. For the message here to be "Wow, look how even when trans identity is publicly accepted, it gets commercialized!" you would expect ads glamorizing the bodies of trans people in a way suggesting fashionability. The "Mix it up" slogan and obvious visual punchline of the ad instead makes the subject of the ad into a joke. If anything the intended takeaway initially read to me as "Wow, a woman with a penis, watch out for the horrors of the world that's coming!"
 

dude

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,042
Tel Aviv
It is a serious suggestion. I don’t want to read someone who may or may not have good intentions giving their spin on a thing they did. I want to hear from the people who actually might be impacted.
Oh, sorry for assuming then! It's very hard to know the tone on internet message boards, but I still shouldn't assume your intentions. Hopefully people are trying to respectfully talk with trans people and get their take on this, since it's the one which matters most.


Fuck out my face, nigga.

I asked a question about them treating people of color and their vernacular as stereotypical. Which isn’t off base given what we saw of V’s friend in the trailer last year (I forget his name). His dialogue was cringeworthy and seemed to indicate they didn’t have a ton of diversity in the room when they wrote it.

I know one article doesn’t tell us anything, hence me saying I needed an explanation from them. There’s nothing “up in arms” about my post. Take your weird ass defense elsewhere.
Well, I think demanding an explanation for something we don't quite understand or know much about yet is a little early, and can have a negative impact on how games deal with complicated issues. But if you disagree, alright.
And I wasn't defending anything in my post.